Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April Update

I tend to write Battlecorps stories in batches, and now is no different. I've five first draft stories I need to go back over and rewrite before turning them over to the workgroup for some C&C. And that brings up something that is common with all writers: Perfection is the enemy of good.

What do I mean? I mean that the first step in writing is sitting down and writing! Words have to be on the page before any story can flow.

The second step in writing is Rewriting is almost as important as writing! It doesn't matter that the story isn't perfect --- very few authors can write a perfect first draft. I'm not one of those authors.

What do I mean. Let's glance at the stories I finished first drafts for;

Story #1 - Length: 10,200 words. First thing I have to do with this story is cut at least 1,500 words from it. I also have to work out minor continuity problems, and maybe cut an entire scene for length and pace.

Story #2 -- 10,700 words. Similar to Story #1 -- cut a minimum of 2,000 words, look at scenes that need to be removed or rewritten.

Story #3 -- 11,300 words. This is going to be the tough one, and the one I will do last. 2,500 -- 3,000 words need to be cut and I need to rewrite several scenes to support a twist I added late in the story.

Story #4 -- 10,000 words. 1,500 words to be cut and strengthen some scenes.

Story #5 --- 9,200 words. Need to trim 500-1000 words.

You will note that all the stories are on the long side -- four out of the five are over 10,000 words, too long for Battlecorps. I prefer doing that, because it makes me go back and read over each sentence, looking to see what I can cut, rewrite, or modify to lose words. If I need to, I'll cut characters, scenes, simplify the story, or the actions sequences to got those words. At the same time, it allows me to read these stories with fresh eyes (It'll be weeks or months between the time I finish them and I reread them again)

Of the five, two (and a half) stories are sequels to stories I had already published, two are in eras and places I've never written in. One story is Star League era, thee are Jihad era, and the last one is set post-Jihad. I'm not going into details about the stories, or even their titles, right now, but if any of them do get publish, I'll let you know!

Now, I have no idea how many, if any, Jason Schmitzer will accept for Battlecorps publication. There is no promise from him, despite my track record. I have said this before: I have to prove that I can write for Battletech every single story, and if he doesn't like the story, he will not buy it.

In addition, there is something in the works I hope you will be seeing soon. I can't tell you any more than that right now.

So, that's what I'm doing this week, hope you're also pursuing your writing dreams.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Writing update, opening a new Q&A thread, and the importance of Battletech Fiction

Well, the first draft of the fourth story for Battlecorps is (sorta) done. That one I need to go back and do a major rewrite on as it's too long and the plot meanders a bit. Working on the fifth story now and hopefully have that done this weekend.

And since I haven't done it in a while, I'm going to open a new thread on the main Battletech Forumn  so people can ask any questions about writing for Battletech. So, if you have a question, you can ask either here or in the thread.

And here is the thread: Re: Want to ask a Battletech Writer something? ---- Round 2!

And now for the meat of the post; The importance of Battletech fiction.

For thirty years, an important part of the Battletech universe has been the fiction.  Sourcebook fiction, Battlecorps short stories, or novels, each has help create a living, breathing universe that has a consistent and documented history of all over a thousand years. I am a strong believer that it is the fiction helps draws in new players, or at the very least, gets people's attention when they're looking for a military sci-fi that's a little different from the norm.

And make no mistake; Battletech fiction is unique out there in a gaming universe, because it all fits together and it's all canon. Star Trek cannot say that about their novels, and Star Wars just jettisoned their EU line of novels from the field of Canon. Trying to figure out Doctor Who's canon is impossible, by its very nature of time travel. From what I have seen of it (and I could be wrong), Warhammer 40,000 is a mostly static universe, with many stories, but no actual advancement in the timeline. With Battletech, all the stories form part of a large cohesive mosaic covering hundreds of light-years in distance and a thousand years in time. Large one, small ones, personal stories, all have their place. Novel paints bigger pictures, while short stories fill in cracks and small holes and sourcebook fiction gives the grunt-eye view of an event.

While I hope someday we will see Battletech novels again, I don't know when that will be. I don't know why there aren't new novels, only that its not from a lack of interest from the PTB (Powers That Be). So, it's up to the Battlecorps short stories and sourcebook fiction that has to carry the weight of showing the Universe where giant walking tanks rule the battlefield. I know people want longer fiction; I'm one of them, but until the PTB say, "Let's wrote novels!" we can't do anything about it.

So, here I am, writing as may short stories as I can, trying to get them done and submitted in a timely matter. Battlecorps is always looking for writers and I cannot say that enough. It's a good first step if you want to freelance for Catalyst Games Lab.

Well, that's all for now, I'll look at starting up the AToW Characters of the week again. Feed back is always welcomed.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Sorry about that.....

I haven't blogged in a while, but I've been working on a few writing projects, one major. Non-Battletech novel, which is now out --- See my announcement here: African Firestorm is a Go!

With that out of the way, I'm back to writing for Battlecorps. So far, I have three completed first drafts for Battlecorps done, and trying to finish a fourth and maybe a fifth. Once they are done, I'll go back through and cut the first drafts by at least 10%, then send them to the workshop to be looked over. After that, I'll be sending them into Jason Schmitzer for his consideration.

On a personal level, for those people who complain that there aren't enough Battlecorps stories, the reason is simple; there are not a lot of Battlecorps writers. There are no stories being held back, Jason's not hoarding stories. The simple truth is there isn't a large number of stories riolling in, and those that are.....well, if you've read my "Dos and don't" blog posts, you would understand why they were rejected.

No one is writing full-time for Battlecorps; most have real-life jobs, families and social obligations that come first. Several writers are involved in non-Battletech projects, either as a writing or as an editor. There are always writing projects for sourcebooks going on and they take priority. When they find time, they can write Battlecorps story. Jason is always looking for good Battletech writers, so you lose nothing if you submit your story.

I am back to blogging, and we'll see how it goes.. I'll keep you updated with what's going on from my POV in the Battletech world (Subject to my NDA).

Here we go!